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Administrators, Board work to identify potential reductions

Feb. 25, 2016

District officials and board of education members are working to identify potential solutions to the district’s current $1.12 million budget gap.

The district has the potential of receiving an increase in state aid with the adoption of the state budget expected April 1. However, even if the legislators fully restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), the district will still be facing a budget gap estimated at $800,000. If the board chooses to exceed the tax levy limit at 1 percent and GEA was restored, there would still be an estimated $500,000 budget gap.

In the past, the district has been able to avoid large cuts and reductions that would directly impact student programming and activities, but this year will be different.

“This year, everything is on the table,” Schalmont Superintendent Dr. Carol Pallas said. “We’ve already made the majority of reductions we were able to in other areas of the budget. Unfortunately, this year, we will have to examine all areas of the budget.”

Since 2010, the district has reduced staff by 71.13 FTE, closed two elementary schools, eliminated some offerings, and consolidated bus stops. The district also participates in a number of shared services to reduce costs such as:

• Shared Summer School
• Shared Special Education Services
• Health Insurance Consortium
• Collective Bargaining Agreements Savings
• Transportation Contracts Outsourced
• Sports Programs

As officials begin the process of identifying potential cuts, they will focus on maintaining the integrity of the educational quality of the district by preserving as much programming as possible while continuing to address declining enrollment and being sensitive to the needs and abilities of district taxpayers.

“We have presented the board with a wide breadth of considerations for potential reductions,” Pallas said. “As we are still the early stages of budget development, no cuts have been finalized. As the process continues, we will begin making recommendations to the board in earnest.”

Below are some areas identified as possible reductions in the 2016-17 budget:

Area Cost reduction/savings Impact

Increase class size K-12

$100,000

Range of 24-29- elementary

Increase class size K-12

$50,000

Range up to 30

Reduce early intervention: Eliminate K-4 Summer Reading Program, Eliminate Pre-K summer program

$10,000

Summer regression; less opportunity for readiness

Reduce elective offerings 9-12

$230,000

Fewer student choices; larger class size

Reduce alternative educational offerings 9-12

$100,000

Fewer career choices/courses for students

Reduce summer staff for special education summer school

$65,000

Less support for students

Reduce/Eliminate TOSA positions

$250,000

No job embedded PD around common core or technology initiatives

Reduce interventionists K-12

$100,000

Larger caseloads for AIS

Reduce an administrator part time

$50,000

Already minimal admin staff

Reduce PD offerings

$5,000 - $10,000

Less opportunity to base instruction in research based practice

Reduce or eliminate JV sports

$20,000

Not available for students

Eliminate uniform rotation and equipment for year

$18,000

Not available for students

Eliminate recess K-5

$75,000

Research supports

Reduce co-curricular offerings K-12 and/or field trips, late bus run

$3,500 - $7,500

Fewer opportunities for students

Reduce # staff needed for evening events/security

$1,000 - $5,000

Less supervision

Reduce communications staff hours

$20,000

Less upkeep of website, Facebook and Twitter, along with other forms of communication

Reduce/Eliminate SRO and reduce security staffs

$100,000

Compromises student and staff safety and well being

Reduce supply budgets K-12 and for Special Education by 10%

$25,000

Fewer resources

Eliminate K-4 supplemental supplies

$16,200

Parents supply

Track and assign clicks for paper copies K-12/DO

$10,000 - $20,000

Tracking system

Reduce or Eliminate Adult Education offerings

$2,000 - $15,000

Reduces community involvement

Reduce Non-instructional staff, ie, Food Services , typist, etc.

$10,000 - $70,000

Less staff support, others take on more

 

Residents are encouraged to attend Board of Education meetings, where there will be ongoing budget discussions. The next meetings will be March 7 and 21 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School LGI.

The annual school district budget vote will be held Tuesday, May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the High School New Gym Lobby.